Impact by the Numbers

The challenge

One of the fastest-growing industrial services suppliers in its sector after many acquisitions, was operating without a cohesive commercial strategy that actively identified and sought to capture new business.


Despite steady year-over-year growth, the company lacked a focused, coordinated approach toward its most important original equipment manufacturer and raw materials customers, in part because it only had a limited understanding of its customers’ needs.


The company was also squeezed by the “collapse of the middle” phenomenon playing out across industrial manufacturing: Customers were demanding either low-cost, efficient distribution or higher-end, customized solutions, but they rarely wanted middle-of-the-road solutions.


The company and its investors saw an opportunity to grow by applying commercial focus, sophistication and customer centricity in order to propel growth.


It also understood that effective strategic account management (SAM) can serve as a major driver of organic growth, so it partnered with ZS to develop a more structured, customer-centric approach for its most strategic accounts—and to lead growth for the company as a whole.

The solution

ZS worked with the company to build a SAM program designed around four accounts, which represented about 15% of total company revenue.


ZS created tools and best practice processes to help enable customer-facing teams to better structure their account planning and to engage more effectively with customers.


After the build phase, ZS provided tactical, hands-on coaching for specific customer opportunities, while building team capabilities to enhance and embed these new tools and processes into the organization.

The impact

One year after the program launched, strategic account revenue grew 26% over the previous year while non-strategic account revenue declined by 5%.


The company’s account teams also had established a robust, multimillion-dollar pipeline of upcoming opportunities.


Moreover, the SAM program has changed the language and commercial focus of the organization. As a result, the company hired a chief commercial officer and launched initiatives to spark growth across target segments and to design a consistent and cohesive customer experience.


The company also successfully changed ownership during our program build, and the buyer cited the new SAM program and its future growth potential as a key purchasing consideration.


Since the initial launch of the SAM program, ZS has helped the company onboard three additional strategic accounts.